Wearable Weights: Should You Include Them in Your Workouts

Fitness and exercise are two frequent resolutions people make with themselves. However, fitting the gym into your busy schedule is often a challenge, which is why many people suggest workouts that feel less like workouts and more like having fun, so you feel motivated to do them. Cycling and swimming are two of the most popular forms of fun fitness. You can also opt for incognito fitness or exercise with wearable weights.

4 Benefits of Using Wearable Weights

Wearable weights allow for low-key workouts. They can also add to the complexity of a typical routine. For instance, a weighted vest can add a level of resistance to your aerobic activity. You may want to try wearable weights for four reasons or benefits.

1. Weight Loss

The use of wrist and ankle weights requires the use of more energy during physical activity. Using more energy during a workout equates to burning more calories and greater weight loss.

Also, wearable weights will help build more muscles. Muscle burns calories even when the body is at rest. Muscle also burns more calories than other tissues.

2. Muscle Building

Wearable weights create more resistance during workouts, which means you will build more muscle mass with consistent use. The beauty of wearable weights is that they do not interfere with normal movement, meaning you can easily incorporate them into daily activities. For example, it is nothing to put on a pair of ankle weights before going out for an evening walk.

3. Endurance or Stamina

The American Council on Exercise claims that wrist weights can increase your heart rate and raise oxygen consumption. The increases can eventually improve your stamina or endurance during aerobic exercises. However, ACE does not recommend using weights over three pounds because the strain on the shoulders, back, and other body parts can cause discomfort.

4. Workout Challenge

Many people add wearable weights to their regular workouts to increase the challenge. Some people will add weights to improve specific things, like balance, flexibility, movement, etc. Whatever the reasons, wearable weights add a level of complexity to a standard exercise, allowing people to achieve new and motivating results.

Types of Wearable Weights

There are three primary types of wearable weights: ankle weights, wrist weights, and weighted vests. Ankle weights were popular, but many people find they hinder athletic performance. For example, the weights may interfere with a runner's stride, increasing the risks of injury.

Wrist weights are still popular because they provide the same level of resistance as ankle weights without the risks. However, some people get carried away with the weights, increasing the weight to more than three pounds, which is potentially dangerous.

A weighted vest is the best option if you want something heavier than a few pounds. The vest option uses the whole torso to support the extra weight, evenly distributing it to reduce the risk of injury.

You do not need wearable weights to lose weight or gain muscle. That said, the weights are a helpful tool. If you are looking for ways to add resistance to your workout or increase the difficulty of some standard exercise, wearable weights might be your solution. Before adding the weights, you may want to consult your doctor to figure out if the weights are a healthy option for you.

3 Reasons to Return To Using Dry Soap

Dry soap is the traditional shower soap. It comes in bar form and helps dissolve dirt on your skin's surface, allowing you to rinse it away. Still, people have migrated toward liquid soaps in recent years. Is that the best choice?

Reasons To Choose Dry Soap Over Liquid Soap

There are many reasons to choose a body wash or liquid soap for your shower time. For example, liquid soaps are often better for dry skin or gentler for sensitive skin types and conditions. However, despite the advantages of liquid soaps over dry soaps in specific situations, dry soap or bar soap, as it is more commonly referred to, also has benefits over liquid varieties.

1. Bar Soap Is Better for the Environment

Bar soaps create less waste than liquid soaps in production and distribution. Manufacturers typically package bar soap in an eco-friendly, recyclable container. Other than the box, there is no additional waste.

Not only do liquid soaps come in plastic containers, which are worse for the environment, but the soaps may also contain harmful ingredients. Some body washes use microbeads, which have a negative impact on the environment. The problem is so significant that some governments ban the ingredients completely.

2. Bar Soap Contains Fewer Ingredients and Allergens

While some bar soaps can contain many ingredients, most will have fewer than liquid soaps. Liquid options often require preservatives to make them shelf stable, but bar soaps do not, meaning they are usually paraben-free. Also, it is easier for manufacturers to make dry soaps with herbal or all-natural ingredients, meaning soaps can be hypoallergenic.

3. Bar Soap Is Antibacterial

Many people fear bar soaps might contain more harmful bacteria than other soaps because they sit out. Despite the concerns, many studies prove that bar soap presents a limited risk of bacterial contamination. However, experts still recommend people not share their dry soap with anyone else, including members of their household.

Focus On Ingredients

Regardless of the soap you choose for bathing, you should review the ingredients. While all soaps must adhere to regulatory guidelines, there are some ingredients that are OK for soap-making that you might still want to avoid. Also, there are ingredients you want to see on the label of whatever soap you buy.

Good Ingredients

There are several ingredients a quality soap should contain. Glycerin, a plant-based cleanser, helps moisturize your skin by sealing moisture into the skin barrier; it accomplishes this without stripping away natural oils.

Exfoliants are also necessary because they help remove dead skin cells and debris. Some quality exfoliants include oatmeal, black walnut shells, ground apricot pits, etc.

Finally, moisturizing oils are crucial to dry soap production. The most popular oils include coconut oil and sweet almond oil. Coconut butter and shea butter are also excellent moisturizing options.

Bad Ingredients

Avoid soaps with powerful antibacterial agents in them. The FDA banned Triclosan in 2016 because of adverse effects. However, if you buy imported soaps, they may still contain the antibacterial agent.

Soaps may also contain parabens and allergens. Parabens may contribute to specific health conditions. If a soap contains a "fragrance" or "perfume," be leery, especially if you have allergies.

Ultimately, the soap you use is a personal choice. However, dry soap, or bar soap, is an eco-friendly option.

Supplement and Prescription Interactions: 4 Supplements To Avoid

Many people take supplements to ensure they meet nutritional guidelines. Often, you can take supplements, such as a multivitamin, without little concern. Still, many people take supplements while taking prescription medications. While potential interactions are rare, several supplements do not mix well with medications.

Before taking any supplement, you should talk to your doctor, even if you are not on any medications. However, talking with your physician is more crucial when taking a prescription. There are at least four supplements you should avoid when taking specific medications.

1. Turmeric

Turmeric is an ancient spice. Many nutritionists and researchers praise the supplement for a few reasons, including:

  • Improved memory 
  • Reduced inflammation 
  • Decreased risk of heart disease

Unfortunately, turmeric also possesses anticoagulant effects. If you take a blood thinner, you want to avoid turmeric because it can result in internal bleeding. You should also avoid vitamin E and Ginkgo Biloba, two supplements that can also thin the blood.

Still, experts explain that turmeric is still acceptable to use in foods and cooking. Doctors and researchers do not believe herbs and spices have much effect on the body when used in foods.

2. St. John's Wort

St. John's Wort comes from a flowering shrub that is native to Europe. The supplement is often praised for its ability to treat moderate or mild depression. Additionally, many women use it to reduce symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes.

Despite the usefulness and potential effectiveness of the supplement, St. John's Wort does not mix well with many prescriptions. Some of the many medications the supplement interacts with include:

  • omeprazole 
  • alprazolam 
  • Birth control pills 
  • Hormone replacement therapies 
  • Some statins 
  • Some antihistamines 
  • Paxlovid

3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a common nutrient in various foods. A person can meet all vitamin C requirements by consuming:

  • Broccoli 
  • Strawberries 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Oranges 
  • Kiwi 
  • Bell peppers 
  • Kale 
  • Snow peas

Despite the number of natural sources of vitamin C, many people still take supplements. Supplements are popular because people believe the additional vitamin C can ward off the common cold and reduce the risk of cancer.

Unfortunately, high-dose vitamin C supplements can interfere with some forms of chemotherapy. Additionally, the supplements can disrupt the effectiveness of niacin and statins. Some people will also experience a disruption in estrogen levels.

4. Probiotics

Probiotics are essentially good bacteria that make up the gut microbiome. People take probiotic supplements to restore balance to the microbiome and aid digestion. Still, while probiotic supplements might be good for most people, they can interfere with certain medications, specifically antibiotics.

Doctors strongly recommend that patients stay away from probiotic supplements when taking antibiotics. More specifically, physicians tell patients not to take a probiotic supplement within two hours of taking their medication.

Supplements can help you maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Still, taking the wrong supplement can result in problematic interactions with your prescriptions. Your primary care physician should know what you are taking, including supplements. If you feel that some nutrients are missing or lacking in your diet, your doctor can point you toward safe and effective supplements or foods that can help without risking your health.

Coconut: The Benefits and Why You Should Eat More

The product of the coconut palm tree, the coconut, is a tasty and nutritious fruit. You can find coconut in various forms in grocery stores, including:

  • Water 
  • Milk 
  • Meat 
  • Oil

While native to Southeast Asia, the coconut tree is naturally widespread, and its fruit is globally sourced. From the plant's flavor to its increasing culinary uses, coconut is becoming a global dietary sensation. However, dieters only recently began to appreciate the fruit for its various benefits.

Nutritional Advantages of Coconut 

Coconut is not like other fruits. Many fruits are high in carbs and low in fat, but coconut is the opposite. Additionally, the hard-shelled fruit contains protein, minerals, and B vitamins. Some of the minerals of value found in coconuts include:

  • Manganese 
  • Copper 
  • Iron

The minerals found in coconuts are vital to bone health and metabolism. Specifically, the mineral manganese helps in the digestion of cholesterol, carbohydrates, and proteins. Also, copper and iron help produce selenium and red blood cells.

Finally, the fat in coconuts is healthier than other fats. The type of fat is a form of medium-chain triglycerides. MCTs provide a rapid form of energy that is absorbed and converted directly from the small intestine. More research is necessary to understand the specific benefits of MCTs.

Surprising Benefits of Coconut

Besides the nutritional advantages of coconut, there are other benefits to consider. Coconut oil is one of the most versatile substances, with uses as skin moisturizers and hair conditioners. Still, the fruit itself has three interesting benefits that are often overlooked.

1. Antioxidants

While many benefits of coconut are hypothetical, one thing is true: coconuts contain powerful antioxidants. Coconut meat can protect cells against oxidative stress because it contains phenolic compounds, specifically:

  • Caffeic acid 
  • Gallic acid 
  • P-coumaric acid 
  • Salicylic acid 

The specific antioxidants in coconut are polyphenol antioxidants. Coconut antioxidants can protect against cellular damage and chronic disease.

2. Blood Sugar Control

Because coconuts are high in fat and fiber and low in carbohydrates, the fruit may help control blood sugar levels. The high fiber content of coconut meat can slow digestion and possibly improve insulin levels, which can help people manage blood sugar levels. However, not all reports are as praising, with some research suggesting coconut fat can increase long-term insulin resistance. Essentially, more research is needed to understand how coconut and its products can help with blood sugar control.

3. Antibacterial Properties

Some research indicates that coconut oil can inhibit the growth of certain bacteria. For example, one study showed that when coconut oil was added to test tubes with Staphylococcus aureus, the oil slowed or eliminated further bacterial growth. Several similar studies seem to perpetuate the idea of coconut oil as an antibacterial agent, but more research is necessary for proof of concept for human use.

How To Incorporate More Coconut Into Your Diet 

Incorporating more coconut into your diet need not be difficult. Several easy ways to incorporate the beneficial fruit include:

  • Shredded coconut  
  • Coconut flour 
  • Flaked or shaved coconut 
  • Coconut oil

Coconut is a healthy and often underrated fruit. The combination of healthy fat, fiber, and low carbs makes it an incredible addition to any diet. Still, before incorporating new foods into your diet or making significant changes, you should consult your primary care physician.

Enjoy Fall All Year Long With These 3 Sweet Recipes

Everyone knows the fall is all about sweet treats, which nutritionists often tell you to avoid. However, there is nothing wrong with a bit of indulgence now and again if you maintain control.  

The problem with autumn treats is they only come around once a year, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Some fall recipes are just as delicious throughout the year. Why not allow your sweet tooth a taste all year long?

1. Apple Fritter Bites

Hailing from Say Yes contributor Brittany, these apple fritter bites are easy to make, light on the stomach, and delicious. The best part, you can whip up about two dozen of these tiny, golden joys in 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored, and cubed)
  • 2 Beaten eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 Teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ Cup milk
  • 1 ½ Cups flour
  • ¼ Cup granulated sugar
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Glaze Ingredients:

  • ¼ Cup milk
  • 1 Cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ Teaspoon salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:

  1. Using a pan or fryer, heat the oil to 350° Fahrenheit. Mix the baking powder, sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon in a separate bowl.
  2. Using another bowl, beat the eggs and add milk and vanilla, mixing thoroughly. Combine dry and wet ingredients, folding to a thick, nearly-combined consistency.
  3. Then, add the melted butter and apples to the mixture.
  4. Place 1 tablespoon of batter into the heated oil. Allow the batter to remain in the oil until golden brown.
  5. Remove the fritter from the oil and place it on a paper towel to drain. Finally, dip the warm cakes in the glaze. Let the fritter sit for about 30 minutes before eating for the best results.

2. Pumpkin Loaf Cake

Coming from Ashley over at Sugar & Cloth, this pumpkin loaf cake is a Thanksgiving treat that is sure to give you those warm feelings all year long. The recipe makes a 9-inch loaf.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ Cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
  • 1 Cup canned pure pumpkin
  • ½ Cup room temperature, unsalted butter
  • 1 ¼ Cups Sugar
  • ⅓ Cup whole milk
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ Teaspoon salt
  • 3 Large eggs

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  2. Sift the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Using a large bowl, either by hand or using a mixer, beat the butter smooth. Add in the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin.
  4. Once the butter mixture is mixed thoroughly, add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk.
  5. Pouring the batter into a 9-inch loaf pan, bake it for 55 minutes.

3. Hot Chocolate Popsicles

Who said hot chocolate was just for the colder weather? With this Paper & Stitch recipe, you can enjoy your favorite hot chocolate all year long.

Ingredients:

  • Milk
  • Small marshmallows
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Your favorite hot chocolate mix
  • Popsicle mold
  • Popsicle sticks

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the hot chocolate as instructed, but be sure to use milk, not water.
  2. While brewing the hot chocolate, place a few marshmallows into each popsicle mold. Pour the hot chocolate, filling each mold about a third of the way. Freeze for one hour.
  3. Remove from the freezer, add popsicle sticks, and a thin layer of chocolate syrup. Add more hot chocolate. Freeze and repeat once more.
  4. Freeze thoroughly and enjoy.

5 Ways To Quickly Reduce the Appearance of Cellulite

Cellulite is as natural as gray hairs, crow’s feet and underarm “batwings.” And, like these three undeniable indicators of age, cellulite is less than welcome. If you are among the 85% of women who seem to develop just a bit more cellulite with each passing birthday, and if you’re tired of feeling a sense of dread every time you check out your bum, stomach or thighs in the mirror, rest assured in the knowledge that cellulite does not have to be forever. With a few easy tricks, you can reduce the appearance of cellulite and go out into the world with confidence once again.

1.    Drink Your Daily 8 Cups

Dehydration can cause even the most taut areas of your body to appear wrinkled and saggy, so it makes sense that, when dehydrated, areas of cellulite appear more pronounced. By starting each day with just half a liter of water and consuming up to three liters per day, you can drastically reduce the appearance of dimpled skin. Rumor has it that if you add two to three lemons to your first glass of water, or by swallowing a teaspoon of apple cider first thing in the morning, you can kickstart the benefits.

2.    Massage the Cellulite Away

Cellulite is often the result of fluid buildup in the lymph nodes in the areas around the dimpled skin. By massaging on and around the areas of cellulite, you can encourage lymphatic draining and, in the process, reduce the appearance of cellulite. Massage can also help stretch the skin and make it appear firmer.

3.    Maintain a Healthy Diet

Despite popular belief, weight and cellulite are not directly related. However, low metabolism and cellulite are. By eating a healthy diet that is rich in leafy greens, whole grains, fibrous foods and other nutritious substances — and by avoiding salt, sugary beverages and processed foods — you can speed up your metabolism and reduce the severity of dimpled skin.

As a bonus, a healthy diet can help you reduce your body fat and achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Though, as already stated, there is not a direct correlation between weight and cellulite, increased muscle tone can diminish the bumpy appearance of fat cells and make your skin look firm and smooth.

4.    Use a Homemade Coffee Scrub

Coffee contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. As such, research suggests that, when applied topically, it can help reduce low-grade inflammation and improve blood flow, two outcomes that can help diminish the appearance of cellulite. If you’re a coffee drinker, set aside your used grounds each morning in a jar or a plastic bag. The next time you shower, use a loofa, washcloth or old toothbrush, and massage the coffee grounds into the problem areas. Let them soak in and really get to work while you wash your face, lather your hair, etc. Then, rinse off as normal.

Another homemade scrub that has promise as a quick cellulite treatment is the coffee, raw honey and cucumber juice mixture. Mix these three ingredients until you form a thick paste, then apply to the problem areas a few minutes before you hop in the shower.

5.    Use Self-Tanner

Though not a permanent fix, tanning lotion can help hide fine lines, wrinkles and cellulite. If you’re only concerned about cellulite when you wear certain outfits, use self-tanners to blur its appearance for the day.

Cellulite is completely natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s always welcome. Whether you want to hide it for a day or get rid of it completely, give the above five tricks a try.

Dealing With Allergies? Try These Springtime Allergy Tips

Spring is one of the most beautiful times of the year. If you live in a climate that gets snow in the winter, you probably welcome the warming temperatures and the drying ground that come in the spring. Other lovely things about spring include the birth of baby animals, birds singing beautifully all around, and trees developing gorgeous blossoms.

Unfortunately, all of these beauties come at a price for many people. If you have allergies, you probably have a love-hate relationship with spring. I understand because I’m right there with you! The good news is that you may have more control over your springtime allergies than you realize. Here is a list of some of my favorite allergy tips. Give them a try and see if they help you enjoy the spring season a little more.

Try Nasal Sprays

If you’re experiencing fun symptoms like post-nasal drip and nasal congestion as part of your seasonal allergies, there are nasal sprays that may help. Nasal steroids such as Flonase® and Nasonex® are non-sedating, so you can use them in the daytime without worrying about unwanted drowsiness. It is important to keep in mind that these types of nasal sprays don’t have immediate effects, so you’ll need to be patient and give them time to work.

Understand That Herbs Might Make Things Worse

Listen, I like herbs and think they make great remedies for a lot of conditions. But when it comes to seasonal allergies, some herbs can make your symptoms worse. This makes sense when you consider the fact that in the springtime, it’s pollen from plants that make your allergies flare up. So even if you like to use herbs for other ailments, remember that they are plants as well and you may be allergic to some of them without realizing it!

Take Antihistamines

Antihistamines block histamine release. Histamines are chemicals in your immune system that cause your allergy symptoms when they’re triggered by one or more allergens. While histamines are important, they become highly overactive in people with seasonal allergies. Antihistamines can help calm them down to ease your springtime allergy symptoms.

Stay Indoors on Windy Days

Pollen is airborne, which means that it has an easier time making its way around when the wind is blowing. If you know it’s going to be a windy spring day, do your best to stay indoors as much as possible so you can avoid airborne allergens. You should also track the pollen count so you can avoid being outside on days when the pollen count is high.

Vacuum Often

Vacuuming isn’t my favorite pastime, but when I do it regularly, it helps reduce my springtime allergy symptoms. Vacuuming is a great way to get rid of the pollens and other allergens that make their way into your home on your shoes or clothing. Dusting is also important for the same reasons.

Consider Allergy Shots

If all else fails, you may be a good candidate for allergy shots. Talk to an allergist to find out if this is a good option for your springtime allergies. Allergy shots are also known as immunotherapy. These shots can decrease your sensitivity to pollen and other allergens.

The shots work by exposing you to small amounts of a specific allergen. For example, if tree pollen triggers your allergy symptoms, you would receive an allergy shot containing tree pollen protein. It sounds counterintuitive, but when you receive small amounts of a particular allergen, it helps to desensitize you so your body doesn’t react so strongly to future exposures to that allergen.

Give These Remedies a Try

These remedies may not be a cure for springtime allergies, but they can certainly help minimize your symptoms! Give them all a try until you find out what options work best for reducing your allergy symptoms this spring.

Are All Energy Drinks Bad for You?

Energy drinks have been around for a few decades now, and they’ve exploded in popularity.
They’re a big hit with teens — around 30% of teens drink them regularly — but their biggest
audience is actually people 18–34 years old. It’s pretty obvious that these drinks aren’t “healthy,”
but the billion-dollar question is whether they hurt you or not.

Too Much of Everything

Are energy drinks good, bad or ugly? For the most part, they fall into the “bad” category. Some
take it to the extreme and land squarely on the “ugly” list. The main reason is that have way too
much of things your body doesn’t need:


  • Sugar
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Caffeine

Did you know that most energy drinks are packed with more sugar than a can of cola? The American Heart Association recommends keeping your sugar intake under 25 grams for women and 37 grams for men. How much is in one can of Monster or Rockstar? Over 40 grams.


Now, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying some caffeine. Most adults can have up to 400 mg a day without any negative health effects. A regular cup of coffee has around 100 mg of caffeine,
although tall versions (24 ounces) may have as much as 300 mg. A 16-ounce energy drink clocks in at 160–200 mg.

The Marketing Hype Behind Energy Drinks

Energy drinks are big business. In the U.S., they bring in about 14 billion dollars every year. That means manufacturers are eager to downplay risks and get consumers on their side.

Have you seen ads that make it seem like energy drinks are what cool or creative people drink? It’s pure marketing speak. There’s nothing active or awesome about these sugar-laden drinks. Unless you’re preparing to run a marathon, you’re better off staying hydrated with water.

 What about the talk about ginseng, taurine and L-carnitine in many energy drinks? Well, these amino acids and herbal extracts can be good for mental focus, metabolism and energy. But mixing natural ingredients with junk food doesn’t miraculously make energy drinks healthy. That would be like putting vitamin C in a chocolate cake and saying the cake is good for your immune system.

The Real Effects of Energy Drinks

According to many studies, going overboard with energy drinks can have real consequences for your health:

  • Stress
  • High blood pressure and heart problems
  • Risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Stomach irritation
  • Problems sleeping at night
  • Alcohol dangers
  • Dehydration
 It’s not just the number of cans you drink; it’s also how often you have them. In just one year, energy drinks were connected to over 20,000 visits to the emergency room in the United States. Too much caffeine sends your heart into overdrive. Mixing energy drinks and alcohol is even more dangerous.

Healthy Drinks That Can Boost Energy Levels

The energy drinks mentioned above are bad because they combine excessive levels of caffeine and sugar. Other options for increasing concentration and energy can be perfectly healthy if used in moderation:

  • Brewed coffee
  • Green tea (matcha)
  • Yerba mate
  • Guayusa tea
  • Acai berry smoothies
  • Banana-protein smoothies
  • Turmeric lattes
  • Green juice with leafy greens, apples and oranges
 If you go the smoothie or juice route, choose options that are low in sugar. Some independent brands of energy drinks offer recipes with nutritious fruits and veggies, tea leaves, B vitamins and other energy boosters. Healthy supplements for mental focus give you even more flexibility.

5 Ways To Add Mindfulness and Meditation Into Your Busy Schedule

Most people know the benefits of meditation or mindfulness; they understand that regular practice can reduce stress and brighten the mood. Unfortunately, too many people cannot find the hours or minutes in their day to begin a new routine, especially one that does not mesh with the concepts of productivity and hustle. 

While work is vital to a successful professional life, if it is not fulfilling, it is not helpful to spiritual or balanced life. No one is saying quit your job. Still, it would be best to find ways to meet mental health needs throughout your day, which is the primary goal of meditation and mindfulness. Thankfully, meditation does not take hours, and there are several ways to fit it into even the busiest schedule. 

1. Create a Morning Time Allowance

When you wake up in the morning, do you need to rush from one activity to the next? Does it seem like your shower, coffee, and morning drop-off routines all blur together? If so, you are trying to accomplish too much in too little time. 

While no one like to hear it, turning back your clock 15 to 30 minutes can work wonders for morning stress. You can savor your breakfast and set aside a few minutes for a gratitude journal or some other meditative exercise with the extra time. 

2. Savor Coffee Breaks

Most businesspeople enjoy a cup of coffee on their morning commute. Do you drive to the office or take public transportation? Riding a subway train or bus to work can allow you to practice a mindfulness exercise without interfering with your day.  

As you ride the bus, put in your headphones and listen to relaxing music. Drink your coffee slowly, taking tiny sips. Take a moment to breathe in the aroma. Let the coffee sit in your mouth and allow the taste to settle on your tongue. Breathe deeply in and slowly out. 

3. Take a Stroll

What do you do on your lunch break? If you spend 30 minutes in a busy lunchroom or break room, consider taking your lunch outside. If you spend the time alone, you will likely eat faster. If you finish your meal in 15 minutes, that leaves you with another 15 minutes to enjoy a stroll outside.  

Studies show that spending even 15 minutes outside can re-energize you. Additionally, breathing in the fresh air can help you relax. Try to focus on the moment: the color of the grass, the feeling of the sun on your face, etc.

4. Practice Mindful Eating

Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment. The mindfulness ritual can help relieve stress, allowing you to become centered and balanced with your feelings. 

Mindful eating is an extension of mindfulness. You want to sit down for a meal or snack and focus only on the act of eating. Take in the smell of the food, its sight, texture, and taste. Allow yourself the time to explore and savor your meal.  

By focusing entirely on the meal, you can free your mind of other distracting thoughts. Staying in the moment allows stress to dissipate. 

5. Slow Down and Reflect Before Sleep

As in the morning, you want to set aside a few minutes at night for reflection. If possible, it is best to turn off any electronic devices and dim the lights in the hour before bed. Consider making an entry in a gratitude journal or another writing activity during this time. 


Meditation and mindfulness are beneficial practices. Incorporating the above techniques can help you establish a mindfulness routine.

The Best Mood-Boosting Bedtime Snacks

Are you waking up feeling tired, irritable or sad? You should try eating a healthy nighttime snack. It can help you sleep better at night and wake up happy.

What’s the secret to the sleep-enhancing, smile-unleashing effects of certain foods? They contain calming natural compounds: tryptophan, serotonin and melatonin. With a little help from these three, your brain feels like it’s on a relaxing vacation.

Almonds and Almond Butter

All nuts contain healthy protein, and almonds come packed with an added benefit: tryptophan. Munching on high-protein snacks before bedtime is a great idea because it helps you sleep more soundly, encourages tissue repair and increases fat burning while you rest.

With a serotonin boost from eating almonds, you wake rejuvenated and energized. Almonds also have selenium, an important mineral for avoiding depression.

Bananas

Everyone loves bananas, and it turns out that bananas love you back. These feel-good fruits can double your body’s melatonin levels, and they’re a rich source of serotonin and magnesium. Plus, bananas are filling, so you don’t wake up as hungry in the morning.

Tart Cherry Juice or Dried Tart Cherries

Tart cherries can make a big difference in tryptophan levels in the blood. Some people love the sour flavor and drink a glass of juice before bed. If you need some sweetness, add 1/3 cup dried tart cherries to Greek yogurt for a major shot of melatonin.

Blueberries, Raspberries and Strawberries

Berries are one of the best foods for mental performance and mood no matter what time of day. They make great snacks morning, afternoon and night.

According to one study, the purple antioxidants from berries can reduce your risk of depression by almost 40%! If you want to enjoy less stress and anxiety, make sure to add these delicious fruits to your grocery list.

Kiwifruit

Kiwis are one of the only fruits that contain serotonin in spades. They can do wonders for your mood:

  • Help you relax
  • Make you feel sleepy
  • Increase the amount of time you stay asleep
  • Boost sleep quality
  • Promote positive feelings

The next time you find yourself tossing and turning, get up and slice up a kiwifruit or two. They’re the perfect size.

Pistachios

Did you know that a handful of pistachios has more melatonin than some over-the-counter sleep aids? Many products max out at 5 grams of melatonin. Pistachios pack 6.5 grams of mood-boosting melatonin for sleep into just 160 calories!

Milk Smoothies With Fruit or Protein

Milk and other dairy foods have a large amount of tryptophan, which helps your body produce more serotonin. As long as these foods don’t cause you digestive discomfort, they’re a perfect choice for a healthy nighttime snack. A milk smoothie with frozen fruit or nut butter gives you lots of protein and other vitamins, too.

Cheese and (Healthy) Carbs

The mixture of cheese and nutritious carbs can have a big effect on tryptophan levels and serotonin production. Unfortunately, carbs can make you gain weight if you overdo it at night. Pair a portion of cheese with a slice of whole-grain toast, some whole-grain crackers or a bowl of popcorn and you'll be just fine.

Create Tasty Snack Combinations

The great thing about these healthy foods is that mixing and matching them is a breeze. Add a banana to your smoothie. Eat Greek yogurt with pistachios. Make trail mix with dried tart cherries. The stars are the limit.